Living life fully to me means enjoying dance and music. After a lengthy break, I recently rejoined a tap dancing class. At the moment we are learning a dance based on Irish dancing. It’s stretching me but I’m thoroughly enjoying learning the dance and performing it in a group.

This experience has brought back memories of a very enjoyable evening I spent with a dear friend. She had tickets for Riverdance in Crewe and invited me to join her. The whole evening was fantastic – the dancing, music, costumes and rhythm. She’d seen the show before and because she knew I was learning to tap dance, she wanted to share the experience with me. At several points we both had tears in our eyes.

My friend was originally a friend of a friend. We got to know each other after she was diagnosed with incurable cancer. I coordinated volunteer befrienders and I became her befriender. We spent time together every two or three weeks and I gave her a complementary therapy. She enjoyed it, and it helped her relax. 

After a year or so, she asked if she could become a volunteer befriender. I matched her with a lady who lived within a short distance and they became great friends. They spent many happy hours together despite my friend undergoing treatment for cancer.

My friend also went to dancing lessons with her partner. Her approach to living life fully, was to enjoy every minute. She also wanted to share this enjoyment with her family, friends and the person she volunteered with. Even towards the end of her life, whilst she was in hospital, she shared a much loved book with the lady in the next bed. This book helped the lady reach a peace with her own approaching end of life.

At my friend’s funeral, there were so many people there. We celebrated her life and remembered her unique contribution to each of our lives. For me, her kindness, compassion and joy for living life are qualities I try to emulate. My recent return to tap dancing is certainly helping to bring more enjoyment in my life! We never know how our lives will go but we can make choices each day to experience something we enjoy.